I went to the Minnesota-Nebraska game last night. I didn’t get credentialed. It might have been easier. Instead, my neighbor Dan invited me to watch the game with club tickets, and I thought, “wow, club tickets? Ain’t nobody ever invited me to no club” and that’s true, it’s true, I’m riff raff defined and I don’t get invited no where no nice never.
(Mrs CN is the one that suffers most, really. She so beautiful, should be invited nice places but she’s tied herself to me, riff raff, God help her so.)
The game didn’t turn out any different than I expected, Nebraska fighting for a while, trying to stay in the game, and a hot Minnesota team on their home floor. It was the few minutes before the first half that doomed us, not making or taking some good shots, and then, no recovery.
Minnesota’s Barn is a hard place to play. I hadn’t been there for a while since I haven’t exactly gotten out as much as I’d like to in the past couple years. The Barn is loud. It’s energetic, against you, when you’re the opposing team, and it’s kind of scary when the crowd turns from unruly into mob. Nebraska didn’t experience that mob thing last night because the game wasn’t close...
But the game left me with a lot of questions.
Gophers fans asked me, ‘Will Miles get another year?’
“Yes”, I said, “I hope so. I think the team is young, kind of like Pitino’s team last year”, but in saying so I consciously leaft out that some Minnesota players were suspended last year for tweeting porn of themselves.
It was Minnesota’s senior night. Towards the end of the game when it was clear it was no longer in question (without about five minutes left), the Minnesota student section started cheering for Darin Haugh, a backup senior who rarely plays, to get in the game. He got to play, of course, because the game at that point was beyond repair.
Did Nebraska give up?
I don’t think so, but I think this team has run out of gas, which is the nice way of saying they’ve given up. I don’t believe that young men ever run out of energy, but I do believe they can get mentally exhausted and I think that’s where the team is at, which is a damned shame. It’s still clearly the most athletic team we’ve had in quite a while and it sucks that they haven’t seen better success.
Ed Morrow came in and for a while looked like a man possessed. Tai Webster looked like a guy who knows his college career is coming to an end without the conclusion he wanted.
I am not sold that Rick Pitino is a better coach than Tim Miles, but you wouldn’t know it by this season. After the game was over, Pitino talked about how Haugh was going to quit the team the previous season so he could get a job, the implication being that he had to figure out how to pay for college.
Pitino said he wasn’t willing to let Haugh go, so he put him on scholarship, despite the fact that Haugh has barely played. It was a nice bit, a nice story. Haugh thanked the crowd for being a family, as did Akeem Springs, a graduate transfer.
It was a nice time. A few Summit Pale Ales in Minnesota’s club room. A huge amount of energy and excitement from Minnesota’s crowd. Even a fun time after that when a couple younger guys at Buffalo Wild Wings across the street offered me a blazing wing that nearly killed me and I told them the story of me growing habaneros.
Everything was great except the game.
I hope like hell that Miles sticks around another year and gets redemption like Pitino has.
It should not be lost on anyone that Nebraska is on the verge of being the worst basketball program in the Power Five. Northwestern, having never made the NCAA tourney, looks like a lock to do so, and if they win a game it will leave our beloved Huskers in the position of being the only Power Five conference school to have never won a NCAA tourney game. Screeching about Tyronn Lue’s jersey isn’t going to change that. Honestly, I’m not sure if anything can.
This is a pretty crappy place to be unless you just don’t give a damn about Nebrasketball. What the hell, Nebrasketball? What will we do with you next?